Fikret Sadikhov: Azerbaijan's election campaigning was transparent and democratic
According to final assessments of Azerbaijan's election campaigning by various foreign observation missions, the electoral process has been transparent and democratic, Professor of the Western University Fikret Sadykhov said, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza.
"All the candidates were able to speak out, each of them was allotted equal periods of free broadcasting time, namely 8 minutes every day, on television and radio channels. Each of them gave keynote speeches to voice their opinions about the foreign and domestic policy of Azerbaijan. In addition, they had paid broadcasting time outside this limit. I think that the pre-election situation in the country fully corresponded to the standards existing in many countries. In this respect in Azerbaijan there were no special differences from the generally accepted pre-election practice," he said.
It is also essential that the election campaign was held in a calm atmosphere, without any provocations. "All those participating in the election expressed their positions, which was facilitated by television, radio, media sites, newspaper publications, various interviews, meetings with voters, trips to the regional centers and villages. That is, this campaign was held in a calm, restrained, democratic atmosphere," Fikret Sadykhov added.
Professor of the Western University drew attention to the fact that results of sociological polls indicate Ilham Aliyev's confident victory in the election. "According to many polls, the incumbent president has 85% or more of support. However, the day of voting and the pre-election battle are still coming, and many candidates, realizing that they may not become the head of state, fully used their election campaigns to promote our ideas, principles and views on the political priorities of the Azerbaijani state. This year we have a wide range of candidates - Social Democrats, nationalists, social movements and moderate political forces," he said.
Speaking about the reasons for holding the early presidential election this spring, instead of the autumn, Fikret Sadykhov recalled the large number of events that will take place in Azerbaijan this summer and autumn. "We are expecting the Formula 1 soon, then the Global Forum, a number of meetings at the highest level, large-scale international sports competitions are planned. The shift in the terms of the presidential campaign made it possible not to pile up events, allow voters to make a choice a few months earlier, so that this most important political event does not coincide with large-scale events in which Azerbaijan participates, or those which involve our capital," the political scientist concluded.